NextGenUs to challenge Cumbria Council if BT wins tender
Threats are appearing from NextGenUs that if BT wins the BDUK project money in Cumbria that it will challenge the awarding of the tender to BT.
NextGenUs suggests that the market is delivering a superfast service in Cumbria or has firm plans to do so. Certainly NextGenUs would appear to be planning a roll-out into Lune Valley of its 10 Mbps to 60 Mbps service. Whether the Community Interest Company would be able to scale its service to cover the whole of Cumbria within the timeframe of finishing by May 2015 is a good question. There has been a few years advance warning that these tenders were going to take place, so that competitors could get alternative services up and running.
Perhaps a better approach, would be for the various fixed wireless providers to try and co-operate with BT, Fujitsu and other larger bidders to provide their service in the areas where it makes the most sense.
What is interesting in the ISPreview article, is that it would appear that if for example, C&W or Fujtisu won the contract there would be no challenge. If Fujitsu were to win, and fullfill there promise of Fibre to the Home, the business model for NextGenUs will be even weaker than if BT were to win.
It will be interesting to see if a legal challenge does ensue, if it does it has the potential to cost the council a lot of money, and undermine other BDUK projects, and while there is a lot of sentiment that BT is an evil massive conglomerate almost any company of that size and providing a national service would draw similar complaints.
Any chance for a single national interest local loop company apart from the current Openreach was lost with the creation of the BT Group in 1984, the cable companies operated as regional franchises which slowly fused into Virgin Media, and ran up large debts resulting in an alternate loop for half the UK (Virgin Media talks of an investment of £15 billion in its network). The question really is how long should UK PLC have waited for government intervention, many commentators say the current intervention is already too little too late.